Edmonds v. State

Decision Date10 March 2021
Docket NumberNo. 479,479
CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland
Circuit Court for Baltimore City

Case Nos: 197294051, 055, 063, 065, 067, 069, 071, 073


Friedman, Gould, Woodward, Patrick L. (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned), JJ.


*This is an unreported opinion, and it may not be cited in any paper, brief, motion, or other document filed in this Court or any other Maryland Court as either precedent within the rule of stare decisis or as persuasive authority. Md. Rule 1-104.

In 1999, a jury in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City found Keith Edmonds, appellant, guilty of felony murder and related offenses. The court sentenced him to life imprisonment, plus a consecutive 40 years. On direct appeal, this Court vacated a conviction and sentence for second-degree murder, as it should have merged with the first-degree felony murder conviction, and otherwise affirmed the judgments. Edmonds v. State, 138 Md. App. 438 (2001).

In 2020, Mr. Edmonds, representing himself, filed a Motion for Evaluation Pursuant to Health General § 8-505 and Commitment Pursuant to Health General § 8-507. In his motion, Mr. Edmonds informed the court that he had completed his "general education" and a host of other programs offered in prison, and he attached copies of certificates of completion of the various training and/or educational programs he had engaged in. He noted, however that he had not yet received "any drug treatment." He informed the court that his "first parole hearing is 2021, and 2022 he'll be eligible for parole" and "if given the chance to enter the Mental Hygiene program to better his drug abuse problems, it would be helpful and comparable [sic] to [his] parole to be acceptable into the program for treatment."

By letter dated June 25, 2020, the court advised Mr. Edmonds that it had received his motion and then stated: "Congratulations on the completion of the different enrichment programs you participated in while incarcerated. Unfortunately, your request is respectfully denied." Mr. Edmonds appeals that decision.

On appeal, Mr. Edmonds asserts that the denial of his motion "deprived him of due process[]" because the court "didn't even look into [his] serious drug addictions," butsimply summarily denied his motion. He further maintains that "the failure or refusal to treat [his drug addiction] could well result in the deprivation of life itself."

The State moves to dismiss the appeal as not permitted by law. The State relies on Fuller v. State, 397 Md. 372 (2007), in which the Court of Appeals held that the denial of an inmate's request to be committed to a drug treatment program pursuant to Health General § 8-507 was not appealable because the denial of relief did not preclude the person from filing another petition and, thus, was not a final judgment nor an appealable collateral order. Id. at 394-95. The State further maintains that this Court's recent decision in Hill v. State, 247 Md. App. 377 (2020) is inapplicable because here, unlike in Hill, the record before us does not reflect "that the circuit court believed it lacked jurisdiction to consider Edmonds's motion."

In Hill, this Court held that there was appellate jurisdiction to consider the denial of an inmate's Health General § 8-507 request where the court ruled that it was precluded from authorizing treatment because the petitioner had been convicted of a crime of violence and was not parole eligible until 2024. 247 Md. App. at 389. Although the petitioner had previously qualified for treatment and the court had indicated its willingness to authorize it, in 2018 the legislature amended the statute and disallowed commitment for drug treatment for prisoners convicted of crimes of violence until they became eligible for parole. Id. In ruling that the 2018 amendments to the statute prohibited the court from authorizing treatment, the circuit court rejected Mr. Hill's contention that those amendments violated the Ex Post Facto Clause found in Article 1 of the United States Constitution and Article 18 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights because the statutoryamendments were enacted after his 2011 conviction. Id. In determining that this Court did have...

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